In 1776, Adam Smith made perhaps the most famous statement linking monopoly power to labor. “Masters,” he wrote in The Wealth of Nations, “are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate.” Today, however, rather than taking Smith’s maxim as a warning, most lawyers and judges have come to treat it as a guidebook.
Two Federal Reserve economists have just come out with a paper on the social consequences of widespread monopolization of markets by large corporations.
Last week, the House Antitrust Subcommittee grilled the CEOs of four large technology platforms – Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook – for five and a half hours, focusing on the market power these corporations have accumulated over the last fifteen to twenty years.
A Response to Rob Atkinson
The American medical industry offers a case study of how market concentration undermines economic resilience.
Last week, some very large employers – including Salesforce, Tesla, and Walmart – called for a corporate merger moratorium for hospitals and doctors groups. It’s unusual to have the paragons of big business assert the need for aggressive antitrust, but it speaks to how confused our current economic debates really are.
Oren Cass invited me to contribute to this site not as a conservative but as a lefty and Democrat who is fascinated by the project of intellectual revival in which this network of thinkers is engaged.